The Flash #51

Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by, Scott Kolins
Colors by, Luis Guerrero
Letters by, Steve Wands

Iris recalls the past: when Wally was born, his parent’s inability to raise him, and her role as his mother-figure. This issue begins after the results of The Flash War where Barry and Wally inadvertently helped Zoom destroy The Speed Force Barrier both releasing new Force energies and closing off the speedsters to the power of time travel. Wally is angry and sad having failed to save his children and not knowing what his future connection to the Speed Force will mean. Barry faces the mistakes he made in mentoring both Wally and Kid Flash, which leads to Kid Flash distancing himself from Barry. The issue ends with a conversation between Barry and Batman where they struggle to grasp the changes that have occurred due to the repercussions of Flashpoint.  

This story is interesting because it touches on emotional issues, relationships in The Flash family, while also referencing the impacts of the recent changes to their connection to the Speed Force.  The character work is strong, and the integrity is kept to recent storylines while Wally West’s character is investigated. Wally faces his sadness, anger, and loss while also managing the headaches caused by temporal flashes due to the long period of time he spent in the Speed Force. In addition, Iris West’s role in the speedsters’ lives is given the much-needed attention it is due given that she’s been the glue that held them together. The depiction of Iris in this way is new in some ways because the story provides a timeline that puts it all together for the reader.

The art is gorgeous not only because of the pencil work that shows detailed facial expressions, but also, due to the coloring, which shows tones and textures that make the flashbacks feel aged. The sections of the present, Wally running in The Speed Force, and, Barry failing to catch him, has a crisp appearance that punctuates the finality the present condition of time travel due to the breaking of the Speed Force Barrier recently.

Overall = 8.5

Final Impressions

This is a good issue with nice historical data included with nice art, however, it felt like a summary issue, and it didn’t advance the characters significantly. The most entertainment value for me is the exploration of Wally West and where he stands coming to grips with the loss of time travel. Barry’s guilt for hurting his family is ground well-traveled; however, this felt different because we see it through the eyes of Iris. The future of Kid Flash and his decision to focus his energies on the Teen Titans is an interesting way to advance that character and gives him room to breathe. I highly recommend this story because it is a nice history lesson to new readers and to fans of The Flash.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall
8.5
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Tom Zimm
I am a licensed clinical social worker and trauma therapist that works with children. I've been interested in comic book heroes since I was a young child. However, it's been in the last 3-4 years that I've been making the weekly trip to the local comic book store to redeem my pull list. DC's Rebirth really won me over, especially Geoff Johns' 80-page book. My favorite properties include The Flash and The Incredible Hulk. My criteria for a good comic book include taking stupid and fun seriously while remaining self-aware.